Pros and Cons of Hong Kong

Hong Kong was a very interesting place for me to visit because it was the first place that I have been to where I haven’t wanted to come back. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have traveled here,  but just as happy to leave. After all my travels so far, Hong Kong has been my least favorite place on the map…besides maybe Atlanta, Georgia. 

Hopefully this post doesn’t offend anyone because there were definitely parts of the short trip here that we enjoyed, and I know I can’t speak of the whole region, but overall, we found Hong Kong to be very unclean, have many odd and undesirable smells lingering in the city, the people were very rude, pushy, and generally unhappy, and it is pricier than it should be for the conditions of the cities. However, we were traveling here after staying in Japan which is the complete opposite, so our expectations where set pretty high! 

Before this post gets too negative though, I do want to say that we enjoyed the things that we saw while there and will say that the public transportation was excellent and very user friendly! We were able to get around easily throughout our entire stay with the MTR (mass transit railway) system alone! 

Normally, I feel like I boast about all the airlines and accommodations I have used while traveling, but this post will be a little different. For this post, I’ll let you know about the ugly side of traveling and how things might not always go as planned. 

Our trip to Hong Kong started off rocky by flying on HK express from Narita to Hong Kong. This airline is a budget airline and you get what you pay for I guess. I have flown on many different airlines over the past couple of years and this one was by far the worst. Nothing terrible happened to us along our journey, but this airline is like the Spirit of asian airlines. There are hidden fees for everything and even though the ticket is low, they will charge you for everything else along the way which racks up to a hefty price. The staff was unfriendly throughout every aspect and the flights we took were too long to not offer anything complimentary to passengers along the way. At first I thought, oh well, we will bring our own snacks and drinks onboard, but guess again, no outside food or beverages were allowed onboard making for a long 5 hour flight without even water. We made do though and slept for the majority of the flight. Upon landing though, we encountered another problem. After deplaning it took almost 2 hours from the time we landed to retrieve our luggage. Based on the overall experience, I would not book with this airline again and can not recommend it to others. 

After our journey with HK express, we decided to Uber to our hotel. This was the one and only time that we did not use public transportation and I regret it. We were tired though, it was late, and we were in an unfamiliar place that did not feel too safe, so we opted for Uber. The ride itself wasn’t too expensive but the driver was rude and the ride took over an hour to go 17 miles. This wasn’t the drivers fault at all, but traffic was horrible even at midnight in Hong Kong. 

The hotel was another bad experience unfortunately. We stayed at the Bridal Tea House Hotel and I would give this place zero stars on Yelp (inside joke with my sister, shoutout to Jade haha) but for real, this “hotel” was awful. The staff was unfriendly, but realizing that was the norm in these parts we will move on from that, the room was too tiny to even lay down a suitcase, the bed was rock hard, the wifi only lasted an hour and had a sketchy connection with pop up ads, the shower had a list of rules to follow so you wouldn’t set off the fire alarm, and the shower leaked on top of it. The 2 highlights of this hotel were that it was close to a MTR station and the air conditioning worked well. For that, 1 star review!

After getting a rough night’s rest, we enjoyed our day at the Hong Kong Disneyland Park. The park itself was great and we thoroughly enjoyed visiting during Halloween! The decorations were awesome and they even had a trick-or-treating maze for kids and an actual haunted house for the adults! This was a completely unique experience from the other parks since the house was actually a little scary with twisted Disney characters that popped out at you and they even stole a member from our group mid-way through! 

Even though this park was small, it was a very enjoyable park and had a few really great rides! The Mystic Manor was my favorite ride since there isn’t a ride like it at any of the other parks. At first I thought it would be like Haunted Mansion, but it is truly one of a kind! Our other two favorite rides were the Mountain roller coaster in Grizzly Gulch which surprised rides with a few twists, and the Iron Man ride which was a mix between Soarin’ and Star Tours if you have been on those rides at the other parks! 

This park also had 2 amazing shows that we really enjoyed during the day, 1 was based on the Lion King and the other was a compilation of many different Disney movies and songs! Overall we had a great day exploring the park and I can’t wait to add this to my comparison list for all the parks which will be coming soon! 

The next day we set out to explore a few sights in Hong Kong which consisted of a Cable Car ride to Lantau Island, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, the Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and the Mong Kok markets!
The Cable Car view was absolutely breathtaking as it soared through the air above the bay and into a sea of green trees! At the end of the line was the Buddha statue and monastery! After climbing up 200 steps, The towering Buddha made everything else seem so small and I couldn’t believe that it was only the same age as me, being completed in 1993! After the tour of the statue and walking around the monastery, we watched a Chinese fighting show which showcased talented young men doing flips and tricks with various different weapons. We watched in awe at a blindfolded sword fight that was taking place feet in front of us!
After the island tour we set out to the MTR again and walked through the free zoo and gardens in central Hong Kong. The zoo was beautiful which was a nice break from the sewer smelling streets below, but it set atop a hill looking out over the skyline of downtown which was worth all the steps it took to get there! 

We collected our thoughts as we took in the view, then began heading back to the MTR system again and ended up at the Mong Kok shops. Jensen had been telling me all about these markets and at first I was expecting junkie flea market stuff, even though there was a lot of that, we did end up finding some great deals and walked away with a few new knock-off bags and other items to take home with us! Some of the stuff seemed cheesy, but we were happy with the quality of the items we found! 
Another place we ended up in the Mong Kok area was Etude House. Etude House is a South Korean beauty brand which I have already fallen in love with! At first I was intrigued by the product advertising but once we went in I was a little skeptical of the quality since I don’t know Chinese or Korean. We ended up walking out to find wifi to research the quality of the brand, and after finding several positive reviews, we headed back to the store and loaded up on new makeup and skincare items for myself! Jensen ended up treating me for my birthday, but I already know I’ll be spending some of my own money on more products in the future! 

After our long day, we were ready to shower and sleep in our dingy little hotel room and get prepared to head out to Osaka the next day. As you can tell, we had a short visit and we made the most of it, but like I said, all the good came with the bad of rude, pushy people, and very strong sewer smells wherever we went. It was a decent little trip over all, but we are happy to have landed in Osaka and be among the friendly and welcoming Japanese again!
**as usual, all photos are by Jensen Sharp


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